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Meatless Monday: Banana Cream Pie

20140127-103129.jpgThis is not my recipe but it’s definitely meatless! And hey, vegetarians love sweets too! I’m sharing this recipe because it’s delicious and this is what I served up for my first Vegas Christmas at home just about a month ago! T and I first made this together during our “mini-moon”. It was delicious and it was surprisingly easy to make.

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The Banana Cream Pie recipe came from Lynn Cole’s Facebook post –> HERE and I’ve used a store-bought Graham Pie Crust for both times I made it.

Banana Cream Pie

1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
3 cups whole milk
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 bananas

Directions:

  1. If using graham crust, brush with egg white and bake at 350 for 6 minutes or until golden.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the milk.
  3. In a glass bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt; gradually stir in the hot milk. stirring constantly, cook until thickened.
  4. In a small bowl, have the 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten, ready; stir a small amount of the hot mixture into beaten yolks; when thoroughly combined, stir yolks into hot mixture.
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and blend in the butter and vanilla.
  7. Let sit 10 minutes.
  8. When ready to pour, slice bananas and scatter in pie shell; pour warm mixture over bananas.
  9. Let cool.
  10. Top with sweetened whipped cream and toasted coconut.
  11. Refrigerate 4 hours before serving.

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I skipped the bit with the toasted coconut (because I don’t like coconut) but it still tastes great! 


2 Comments

Meatless Monday: Braised Tofu & Eggs

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Hello! I hope some of you have tried my recipes! Please tell me if you do and if you have ways of improving them.

This is a modified recipe that I used a long time ago to make braised pork belly in Soy Sauce (Tau Yew Bak). I no longer eat pork but still crave that slightly caramelly taste of this sauce. Today’s recipe is essentially Vegetarian Tau Yew Bak or Tau Yew Bak no Bak. Heehee… *Tau Yew is soy sauce. Bak refers to flesh or meat (in this instance, pork).

This braising method is easy and fuss free. I’m using dark soy sauce because it produces a darker sauce though milder in taste (less salty) compared to light soy. But otherwise it’s about the same as regular soy sauce. If you don’t have dark soy, regular soy will do too. Add a total of 5 tablespoons of light soy instead. It’ll be equally salty but lighter in colour.

What I like about this modified recipe is that, it’s fast and easy to make, yet still satisfies my craving. I love braise sauces over plain steamed rice – my kind of comfort food.IMG_2531

Braised Tofu & Eggs (Vegetarian Tau Yew Bak)

Serves 2 -4. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 45 minutes.

3 cups water

4 hard boiled eggs

4 garlic cloves (smashed with the back of a knife to release flavour)

4 tbsp dark soy sauce

3 tbsp light soy sauce

3 tbsp brown sugar

Salt & pepper to taste

1/2 block of tofu (cut into small rectangular pieces)

1 stick of cinnamon

2 star anise

3 cloves

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Method:

1. Heat up a pot with 3 cups of water and bring to boil then lower heat.

2. Add tofu, garlic, soy sauces, brown sugar, soy sauce, cinnamon, cloves and star anise. Then stir  gently to mix everything.

3. Bring to a boil then add peeled hard boiled eggs.

4. Lower the heat to medium and braise for 15 minutes.

5. Turn the heat to lowest for another 25 – 30 minutes.

6. Serve with steamed rice.

And there you have it – vegetarian tau yew bak aka braised tofu and eggs!


1 Comment

Meatless Monday: Creamy Carrot & Potato Soup

IMG_1632Most families I know have their own version of the ABC Soup (essentially carrot and potato in a clear broth that is so easy it’s like ABC). I usually cook mine with hearty chunks of carrots, potato, tomato and onions – sometimes, corn on a cob too. This is a variant that I came up with that is a cross between a creamy pumpkin soup and the ABC soup. (I even served it with my very first loaf of homemade bread on the day I made this!)

Is this fusion? Who cares! It’s vegetarian, it’s my original recipe and it’s so yummy! I think so anyway.

Creamy Carrot & Potato Soup

Serves 2 – 4. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic

4 small potatoes

1 medium-sized carrot

1/2 medium onion chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon meat curry powder

1/2 cube of vegetable stock

1 teaspoon rosemary (optional)

1/2 cup milk (I used evaporated milk)

3 cups water

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Method:

1. Cut carrot and 3 potatoes into smallish chunks. (The remaining potato chopped up and saved for later.)

2. Heat vegetable oil in a medium-sized pot to brown the garlic, followed by onions.

3. Add carrots and potatoes into the pot.

4. Pour water, meat curry powder, rosemary and vegetable stock cube  into the pot.

5. Turn to medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes and carrots turn somewhat soft. Don’t forget to stir constantly.

6. Puree mixture in a food processor or stick an immersion blender into pot. Then return pureed soup back into pot (if you’re using a food processor).

7. Add salt, milk and the remaining potato chunks, then simmer for another 10 minutes (stir constantly). If the soup is too thin, add a little more milk or some heavy cream or, boil it down to preferable viscosity.

8. Serve hot with ground black pepper to taste!

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The floating bits of potato give the soup some bite. I do love a chunky soup like the New England Clam Chowder but since this soup is supposed to be CREAMY, it shall remain largely such.

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Meatless Monday: Savoury Meat-Free Muffins

IMG_1283This was an experiment that went right and I was really surprised. Not only was it easy and cheap to make, it was delicious, low-fat AND easy to pack for a lunchbox (or a picnic). The key thing here is a muffin pan – it helps shapes these savoury bites. I guess you could use your hands, roll them into a ball, then plonk them onto a flat baking sheet and hope they stay in shape while baking.

You can substitute any of the herbs and spices below with anything you have in the kitchen (even a simple salt and pepper mix will do). The herbs and spices* basically give the plain all-purpose flour some flavour. Add dried chili flakes if you want a bit of kick.

T thought they tasted like turkey stuffing and were very filling. He had 2 for dinner, followed by some home baked chocolate cake and ice cream. Then before we went to bed, he said he wished he had more of the muffins. Lucky for him, I had prepared some for his lunch the next day.IMG_1281IMG_1282

Savoury Meat-Free Muffins

Serves 4 – 6. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 – 30 minutes.

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (or contents of 1 tin)

1 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts (I bought 1 small tin of these)

1 cup flour

1 cup low fat shredded cheese

1 large egg

1 tablespoon dried basil*

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder*

1/2 tablespoon paprika*

1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary*

2 cups dried breadcrumbs (I bashed some saltines in a bowl with a ice cream scoop for this)

1/2 tablespoon of Olive Oil (or cooking spray to grease the pan)

Method:

1. Chop up mushrooms and water chestnuts as small as you can (do not blend in a food processor because you’ll lose some “bite”), then mix it up in a large bowl with the flour, egg, butter, shredded cheese, as well as all the herbs and spices.

2. Keep mixing the contents of the bowl until a ball forms.

3. Pour your breadcrumbs (or bash some saltines) in a separate bowl.

4. Split your wet mixture into 6 – 8 large balls to prepare for rolling in the breadcrumbs. (I used the ice cream scoop but you can do it in any way.)

5. Roll each ball thoroughly in the breadcrumbs then plonk every single one into an individually greased cup of the muffin pan.

6. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 425degF.

7. Remove from oven and let cool.

I served mine with some tomato-based pasta sauce that I had prepared with sauteed onions and some additional herbs. You can eat it with ketchup or any of your favourite sauces.IMG_1284For T’s lunch, I packed 4 muffins and some sauce in separate containers for easy reheating at work. Make these muffin larger or smaller as you wish. They are savoury and satisfying!


5 Comments

Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Mash

20131031-151802.jpgMashed potatoes are great. T and I love potato almost everything – he more than I do. This recipe came about because I was trying to cook something that would keep for a while, is easy to make and lower in carbohydrates (we eat a lot of potato, rice and pasta as vegetarians and T doesn’t like vegetables in general).

This recipe is just a little healthier using cauliflower than potatoes because it is a tad lower in carbohydrates. This doesn’t mean you should eat heaps of it because it still has stuff like butter, milk and cheese in it. I like that you can make a huge batch, then serve it as a side dish over several days and it doesn’t lose flavour or go bad. Also, I got to use my new favourite kitchen appliance – the Cuisinart Immersion Hand Blender.

20131031-152019.jpgCauliflower Mash

Serves 4 to 6. Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes.

1 medium head of Cauliflower

1 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar (you can use any cheese you like)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon butter

1 tablespoon dried basil

Method:

1. Chop up the cauliflower into florets and drop it into a pot of boiling water. Boil till the florets are soft enough to be pierced by a fork.

2. Pour out all the water and mix all the ingredients (except basil) in the same pot.

3. Use an immersion blender or a food processor to blend everything together.

4. Sprinkle dried basil as a garnish upon serving.

TAH DAH!! If you want to, you can make this recipe lower in fat by using skim milk or low fat cheese.


1 Comment

Meatless Monday: Easy Baked Eggs

20131031-151333.jpgI was looking at ways to up T’s protein intake and I do try to vary it from soy-based products (soy meats or tofu). There’s definitely something to be said about eggs being high in cholesterol and that people are advised not to eat more than 2 egg yolks a week. However, bearing in mind that vegetarians do not eat a lot of foods that are high in cholesterol – generally meats and seafood, we are sorta in the clear – especially since T and I watch out for trans fats and avoid things like vegetable shortening or margarine.

In this recipe, you’ll see that I made 6 baked eggs in muffin cups (the cupcake baking tray), of which there are only 5 egg yolks because I had egg whites leftover from making a delicious Banana Cream Pie the day before. I ended up serving T two eggs with yolks and 1 baked egg that’s all whites for lunch. I saved the remainder in the refrigerator for another time! Convenience is great!20131031-151512.jpg

Easy Baked Eggs

Serves 1 to 6. Prep Time: 3 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes

6 eggs

Pinch of curry powder

1 tablespoon of diced tomatoes

Pinch of Black Pepper

Pinch of Paprika

Pinch of Garlic Powder

1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil (or cooking spray to grease the pan)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350degF.

2. Grease each cup. (I used a silicon brush and some Canola oil.)

3. Break eggs into muffin pan cups  (use as many or as little as you want).

4. In each little cup, vary your toppings for flavour.

4. Pop the pan into the oven for 15 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and pop each egg out once they’ve cooled.

TAH DAH!

Easy peasy! Just remember that you shouldn’t have too many yolks a week if you’re watching your cholesterol intake but you should still have them because the nutritional value of eggs largely lie in the yolks!


2 Comments

Meatless Monday: Quick Quick Quiche

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Again, I tried to be “witty” with the title but it really is a super easy quiche that can be made quickly, especially if you do it without the crust. I’ve researched several recipes and this is my final product. It is yum and easy!!! Another one of those things I’d make if I were a busy mum. This is good refrigerated for up to 24 hours, so you can prep this in advance, then pop it into the oven to warm about 45 minutes before serving (or microwave if you’re lazy).

The quiche recipe first, followed by the super easy crust (because some people want to go low carb or make it even quicker without a crust). I swear, it tastes just as great without the crust but T insisted on a crust and I had to learn to make one quickly. It works and I’ll continue working with it (and improving it along the way).

IMG_0836IMG_0887Quick Quick Quiche (Spinach & mushroom)

Serves 4 to 6. Prep Time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour.

3 cups frozen spinach

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup sliced mushroom (I used fresh button mushrooms but you can get the tinned ones too)

1 tablespoon cooking oil

4 oz cream cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon black pepper

5 eggs beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 tablespoon paprika

Method:

1. Heat up 1 tablespoon of cooking oil to cook the spinach, mushroom and onions. Put aside to cool.

2. If you’re using a crust, scoop cream cheese onto the bottom of the pie crust, then top with the cooked spinach, mushrooms and onions. (If not, mix in pinched dollops of the cream cheese after you pour in the egg custard in step 4).

3. Beat eggs, mix in shredded cheese, milk, salt, black pepper and paprika in a bowl.

4. Pour custard mixture into the crust or pie pan. Then cover the pan with aluminium foil.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 400f for 30 minutes then remove the aluminium foil and bake again for another 10 – 15 minutes. This is to prevent the top from becoming too brown. Also, I put a tray at the bottom of the pan, just in case it spilled over. It actually made it a lot easier for me to carry the glass pan in and out of the oven.

6. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Simplest Cheesy Pie Crust

Prep time: 35 minutes (including 30 minutes refrigerating) Cook time: 10 minutes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons butter, cut int small pieces

1/4 cup shredded cheddar

2 tablespoons cold water (I used tap)

Method:

1. Mix flour and chopped butter by rubbing them until crumbly. I used my hands to mush mush mush!

2. Pour in grated cheddar and sprinkle water over mixture. Stir slowly with fork until a ball forms.

3. Refrigerate dough in plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes (I made mine in the morning and left it till late afternoon)

4. Preheat oven to 375f.

5. Roll out dough and spread over pie pan (I have just 1 rectangle Pyrex pan that I use for EVERYTHING because I’m not fancy). Using my fingers, I pressed the dough into the pan’s bottom and sides after I lightly grease it with cooking oil using a silicon brush. I reckon it’s rustic!

6. Poke holes at the bottom of the pastry with a fork before popping into oven.

7. Bake crust for 10 minutes before filling with quiche custard (I spread cream cheese before pouring the mixture).

TAH DAH!

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I served this for dinner with a batch of Marie Callendar’s cheese biscuits when T’s Dad and Step Mom came to stay with us for the wedding weekend. It was warm, home cooked and happy food. There was more than enough for the 4 of us!

As you can tell, my cooking is not exactly sophisticated or trained but it certainly isn’t instant or frozen foods all the time. It’s the same as my fashion philosophy. I make the best of what I have and have fun with it. I’m not a fashion lookbook and neither am I the “perfect” size to be talking about fashion. I’m not your grandmother and I’m never going to be a trained chef. But who cares? If I can do it, so can you!